Man if I had a dollar for every time I was forced to waste a client’s time and money! I’d be rich, well comfortable anyway. That’s due in large part to what I addressed in the article…Any Monkey Can Do Marketing. Don’t Like the Result? Change the Monkeys. In many relationships I have had as both a marketing and a market research supplier, I have had the unenviable conversation with the client or the client’s boss about why even though he/she believes that anyone can do marketing or market research, there is more science there that art in it.
So, for those just getting started in the marketing and/or market research consulting business, a word of warning…here’s what you will face:
- Repetition Blunders: With most marketing and advertising messages, you need repetition in order to gain traction. Clients will ask you to produce a one time ad in an expensive magazine because they are sure that this is the right target for them. Even five consistent ad placements may not be enough to drive brand awareness or traffic. And, when the phone doesn’t ring, your “I told you so” will ring hollow when the client decides not to pay you. My advice? Get your money up front if you want to get paid. But seriously, what I would recommend is to find a like, but cheaper publication in which you can achieve the repetitions you need to get at least some traction for your client.
- Brand Blunders, Discounts on Premium Brands: A great way to kill a premium brand is to discount it. It never ceases to amaze me when premium brands resort to lowering their brand value by offering discounts rather than focusing on increasing value. There are some companies like Ethan Allen that get it, but many others resort to discounting and other brand equity reducing measures to drive floor traffic. My advice, evaluate your client’s offering to determine where value can be added to the customer relationship and start there–this could be as simple as throwing in an extended maintenance or service agreement for free or offering high value customers/prospects additional services and/or preferential treatment on service calls. Just stay away from discounts.
- Market Research Blunders: Believe it or not, some of your clients will do market research just for the sake of doing research; not because they have a well defined market research strategy in mind. The best advice I can give here is to have a brainstorming session with you client where you start out the meeting with just one question and go from there. That question is: “If money, time and other resources were no object, I/our company would…” Let them fill in the blanks. There are other more tactical questions that would follow, but you get the point. Many times your clients know what they want and/or need, but the put too many blinders up in terms of research design…thinking that the budget or man/woman power would get in the way of doing a research that would solve/address whatever need they have.
So new marketing/market research consultants beware of what is coming from your clients. With a little planning, you can keep from wasting your clients time and money.